Hi, I’m Charis Michelsen. I write about cars (among other important things). I’ve been fairly quiet the past couple months due to the rest of my life clamoring for attention, but this week I’ve got a Mazda3 i Grand Touring to play with. It’s a happy car – just look at its smiling face:
Some technicalities about the 2013 Mazda3 i before we begin: According to the documentation I have from Mazda, it is almost 100% Japanese, from parts content to final distribution.
The Mazda3 i comes standard with the super-efficient Skyactiv drive, makes 155 HP and 148 ft-lbs. of torque, and has a manual shift mode (I’m not touching that). It seats five with overall 4-star safety ratings (unless you’re either the driver in a head-on collision – 5 stars – or in the back seat in a side crash – 2 stars).
This particular car comes with the optional technology package (lots of useful lights, an alarm system, rain-sensing windshield wipers, heated mirrors, Sirius satellite radio, and a spoiler), more lights, and more rain sensors (more on those later). MSRP for the base model plus the add-ons: $26,420. MSRP for the base model alone: $23,650 (to be fair, the tech package is actually pretty cool).
Day 1, 10:59am
It’s smiling at me. It’s sitting there smiling at me. (I may be sleep deprived at this point. Fair warning.)
This particular car is “Velocity Red” and extremely sparkly in sunlight. I approve. It also has the nifty power driver’s seat (more buttons to play with) for optimum repositioning.
Day 1, 11:01am
It greets you by saying “Zoom-Zoom” up on the dash before you even turn it on. This might be the cutest thing I’ve seen in the past five months.
The various dials and dashes and levers (ha!) are fairly standard. There’s not much there to surprise the driver, although I did like the extra button for defrosting the front windshield.
There are also seat heaters (must-haves for a number of people I know) right under the temperature controls, all of which I promptly proceeded to ignore. (It’s not that cold out, people, it’s the tail end of winter here.)
Note the manual mode there, which I also promptly proceeded to ignore. (I have spent precisely one hour in the driver’s seat of a manual car in my life. I did not exit the parking lot. Contrary to expectation, I failed to make the clutch physically fall out of the car.) For those of you who like the option to switch to manual – enjoy, have fun, I wish you all the best.
Day 1, 11:04am
You would have to try really, really hard to misinterpret the physical buttons and knobs surrounding the touch screen. I have to wonder how long, precisely, the touch screens last (not just for Mazda – they’re all over). Mazda has a 36-month all-inclusive warranty, but I can’t help thinking the touch screen is going to be the first part to go. (This is perhaps overly pessimistic of me.)
Okay, I’m not gonna lie, I was ridiculously over-excited about this next bit. Are you ready?
The floormats have little hooks in them to keep them in place.
Seriously, though, how many of you get frustrated with your floormats sliding all over and then the floor of the car is just filthy and isn’t that why you bought floormats in the first place. I love the little hooks. (Also, that is my ice scraper, because the weather reports are flipping out about some sort of major winter storm headed into the area and I think I should be prepared.)
Day 1, 11:11am
I have discovered where the USB and auxiliary cords are hiding. They’re in the box between the seats. I approve of the color of the USB cord, and also that the cords are differently colored at all. Much easier to keep track of them that way.
(For all two of you wondering about my classic iPod, I think it’s finally broken and I could not test it with the Mazda3 i.) Note the groove at the bottom left corner – that’s facing forward, toward the driver’s seat, so the box lid can be closed while stuff is plugged in. Excellent attention to detail, Mazda.
Final word on the interior of the car: It’s extremely user-friendly.
Stay tuned for the next post (in which I actually turn the car on)!